Winnipeg Jets or Arizona Coyotes?

Winnipeg Jets 1.0 (Arizona Coyotes) vs Winnipeg Jets 2.0 (Atlanta Thrashers) – 

People that know me, whether it’s family, friends, hockey fans that read our web-site, or my Twitter friends/followers know that I support two NHL teams.  My wife and I live in Arizona for 182 days and we live in Winnipeg for 183 days, we have season tickets for the Coyotes and we have season tickets for the Jets (although I have yet to see a Winnipeg Jets 2.0 game at the MTS Center).  I constantly get asked or jokingly harassed about my cheering for the Phoenix, now the Arizona Coyotes.

Yotes vs Jets

I find it odd that I have to actually explain myself?  For me, it’s really really simple.

 “Were you an Atlanta Thrashers fan pre-2011?  I doubt it.  If you were, my hat is off to you but I’ve been cheering for the Jets/Coyotes franchise since 1972.”  

Before I give my reasons some context might be needed.  I started watching the WHA Winnipeg Jets since their inaugural year back in 1972 and watched them morph into the NHL Winnipeg Jets 1.0 in 1979.  I had season tickets for most of those years and even though I lived in East Kildonan I spent as much time hanging around the old barn as I did at home.  My buddies and I were always around the old arena.  The security guy knew us by name and always lets us in. We got to hang out with the WHA players quite regularly.  It wasn’t like today where everything was wrapped up as tight as a drum.  The players were unbelievable.  Hedberg, Nilsson, Sjoberg, etc were unbelievably fan friendly and that’s where it all started.  Those were the GOLDEN YEARS!

Jumping forward to 1996 and the loss of the Jets –

“I hated Gary Bettman’s guts with every fiber of my being and I hated the NHL turning their backs on Winnipeg.”

For fans of that era, losing our Jets was an agonizing, gut-wrenching experience I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy and it hurt for a long time.  The NHL Jets going to Phoenix was a hard pill to swallow but I never harbored the animosity towards the City of Phoenix (Glendale) that other Jets fans did and I can’t explain why.  BUT, I hated Gary Bettman’s guts with every fiber of my being and I hated the NHL for turning their backs on Winnipeg, leaving us behind but I never hated Phoenix or the players.  As time wore on, the old Jets were getting fewer and further between.  Traded, retired, or out of the game but one player still remained, Shane Doan!


Shane Doan – The Last Winnipeg Jets 1.0 still playing with the original franchise.

Doaner was the 7th overall pick in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft and he played 74 regular season games and 6 playoff games in that final Jets season.  Shane Doan is the only Winnipeg Jets 1.0 player still with the original franchise so maybe that’s why I still think of the Arizona Coyotes as “my team” and the day that Shane Doan retires maybe the Jets 1.0 retire with him.  I don’t know. 

The return of the Jets 2.0 –

“I woke up from a 15 year nightmare only to realize it was a 15 year dream coming true.”

I was thrilled, ecstatic, giddy … you name the adjective.  I was it.  Like all Winnipegers, it was an unbelievable announcement when the relocation of the Thrashers to Winnipeg actually happened.  It was a like I woke up from a 15 year nightmare only to realize it was a 15 year dream coming true.  Now in saying that, I liked the idea of having NHL hockey back in Winnipeg and I was quite familiar with the Atlanta players but I was never a Thrashers fan and I bet 99.9% of Winnipegers weren’t either.


It’s pretty even if you ask me.

I liked our new shiny toy but I didn’t love them.  But … it didn’t take long.  It’s like being a parent.  You say you love them equally.  Truth be told, I always favored the Yotes a little more because I watch them live.  If I had to put an honest number on it, I would sat it would be Coyotes 50. 01% and Jets 49.99%.

The bottom line is that I was cheering for the Jets 1.0/Coyotes long before the Thrashers ever came to town.  When I’m asked about being a Coyotes fan, I usually answer the question with a question.  Were you an Atlanta Thrashers fan pre-2011?  I doubt it.  If you were, my hat is off to you but I’ve been cheering for the Jets/Coyotes franchise since 1972.

I followed the old Jets franchise from afar but when my wife and I started wintering in Arizona I reconnected with my long-lost Jets 1.0 and I really enjoyed it.  I make no apologies for my allegiances.  I cheer for both teams equally hoping each game goes into over-time so both teams come away with points.  During crunch time at the end of the season, I cheer for the team that needs the points the most.

I honestly couldn’t tell you who I’d cheer for if they faced each other in a play-off series but I hope someday to have that problem.

The bottom line is I feel extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to cheer for these two teams ….. SO ….. GO Jets and GO Yotes!   

I’m leaving for the game in a few hours and I hope to see a great game.  I can’t lose tonight!



  1. Mitch I go back to the 72-73 season also. Great to get know you through your blogs. I cheered for the yotes the first season but after awhile I drifted away from hockey for maybe 10-12 years. Them winter of 2010-11 the rumours started to fly about the NHL returning to Wpg had me glued to 1290 sports radio at the time now tsn1290 and CJOB for any news on the return . I was hooked again in May 2011 and only missed 3 games while on a cruise with no coverage. Been to Arizona, Florida, Minnesota and in Jan to California to see my Jets 2.0 play. I hope I live long enough to see them win a Stanley Cup .

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      it wasn’t hard to drift away early on … there was some residual bitterness at the start ……… YOU have been very supportive of Jets 2.0 …. I hope to see a parade some day too !!!!

  2. Rob Carson says

    I can definitely understand your allegiance because you go to the games! I cheered for the Coyotes for a season or 2 but I was always a Habs fan so I slowly drifted away too.

    I liked the Habs since 1971 then the Jets came the next year and I could cheer for both teams! Until 1979 of course, but when it comes down to it, I’m 51-49 Jets over Habs when I watch the 2 teams play I don’t cheer out loud for either team but inside I want the Jets to win!

    So I feel you Mitch!

    • Mitch Kasprick says

      It’s a big commitment watching all 82 games for each team, especially when I DVR a Jets game when they play on the same night as a Coyotes home game AND I know the score !!!

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